Review: A Clubbable Woman, by Reginald Hill


Esta entrada es bilingüe, para ver la versión en castellano desplazarse hacia abajo

Harper an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, 2013 (Paperback). First published in Great Britain by HarperCollins Publishers, 1970. ISBN: 978-0-00-793680-9. 314 pages.

 

13514288Sam Cannon, known as Connie, has to leave the rugby pitch after getting a hit hard during a match. He feels still dizzy when he gets home. As usual, his wife is watching the television and doesn’t say a single word. He goes straight to bed and falls asleep soon. The next morning Cannon finds his wife dead in the living room. She has been murdered. Cannon becomes the main suspect. Worst of all, he’s not even sure of not having killed her. He hardly remembers what happened the night before. Superintendent Andrew Dalziel and Detective-Sergeant Peter Pascoe head the investigation. Their methods are totally opposite. Dalziel acts intuitively and is rude to the point of becoming offensive. Whereas Pascoe takes a rational approach and his manners are much more polite.

Hill describes them, as follows, when we meet them for the first time:

‘Superintendent Andrew Dalziel was a big man. When he took his jacket off and dropped it over the back of a chair it was like a Bedouin pitching camp. He had a big head, greying now; big eyes, short-sighted, but losing nothing of their penetrating force behind a pair of solid-framed spectacles; and he blew his big nose into a khaki handkerchief a foot-and-a-half square. He had been a vicious lock forward in his time, which had been a time before speed and dexterity were placed higher in the list of a pack’s qualities than sheer indestructibility. The same order of priorities had brought him to his present office.

He was a man not difficult to mock. But it was dangerous sport. And perhaps therefore all the more tempting to a detective-sergeant who was twenty years younger, had a degree in social sciences and read works of criminology.

Dalziel sank over his chair and scratched himself vigorously between the legs. Not absent-mindedly – nothing he did was mannerism – but with conscious sensuousness. Like scratching a dog to keep it happy, a constable had once said within range of Dalziel’s very sharp hearing. He had liked the simile and therefore ignored it.’

Published more than forty years ago, A Clubbable Woman has all the flavour of a classic whodunit and accurately reflects the age in which it was written. It has a precise sense of time and place in which the action unfolds. If only for this reason, it’s worth reading. But it’s much more than that. It is the first instalment in a series featuring two memorable characters that have filled over thirty years in the history of detective fiction. Reginald Hill was a magnificent writer and his writing is always a pleasure. Being the first, we must not expect it to be the best in the series but I have enjoyed reading. I have the intention to read the series in its chronological order, with no clear time-frame and I would like to suggest a visit to the links I’ve included below for a better appreciation of Reginald Hill’s significance.

My rating: B (I really liked it).

Reginald Hill was a native of Cumbria and a former resident of Yorkshire, the setting for his more than 20 novels featuring Chief Superintendent Andy Dalziel (pronounced Dee-ell) and DS Peter Pascoe, later Detective Inspector. He began his writing career in 1970 with the publication of A Clubbable Woman the first in the Dalziel and Pascoe series. He worked as a teacher for many years and, ten years after the publication of his first novel, in 1980 he retired to become a full-time writer. He also wrote more than 30 other novels, including five featuring Joe Sixsmith, and some short stories and ghost tales. The Dalziel and Pascoe novels were turned into a highly successful BBC television series, starring Warren Clarke and Colin Buchanan. Reginald Hill was the winner of the CWA Gold Dagger Award in 1990 (for Bones and Silence), the Crime Writers’ Association Cartier Diamond Dagger for Lifetime Achievement in 1995, and the Mystery Thriller Book Club People’s Choice in 2004 (for Good Morning, Midnight). He died on January 12, 2012, aged 75, after suffering from a brain tumour.

A Clubbable Woman has been reviewed at Reviewingtheevidence (Maddy Van Hertbruggen), Tipping my Fedora (Sergio), Celebrating Reginald Hill (Bernadette), BooksPlease (Margaret), The rap sheet, djskrimiblog (Dorte)

HarperCollins

Felony & Mayhem

Reginald Hill Remembered (1936–2012) by Martin Edwards (Mystery Scene)

Reginald Hill obituary by Mike Ripley (The Guardian, Friday 13 January 2012)

In Memoriam – Reginald Hill (Shots Crime & Thriller Ezine)

Reginald Hill: crime with a light touch, by Jake Kerridge (The Telegraph, 16 January, 2012)

Reginald Hill: A Tribute by Gemma (Harrogate Festival)

Listen to clips from Reginald Hill by harrogatecrimefestival

Celebrating Reginald Hill

 

Reseña: La chica del club de Reginald Hill

https://i1.wp.com/ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/215Utjd6xpL.jpgSam Cannon, conocido como Connie, tiene que abandonar el campo de rugby después de recibir un fuerte golpe durante un partido. Se siente todavía mareado cuando llega a su casa. Como de costumbre, su esposa está viendo la televisión y no le dice ni una sola palabra. Va directo a la cama y se duerme pronto. A la mañana siguiente Cannon encuentra a su mujer muerta en la sala de estar. Ha sido asesinada. Cannon se convierte en el principal sospechoso. Lo peor de todo, ni siquiera está seguro de no haberla matado. Apenas recuerda lo que pasó la noche anterior. El superintendente Andrew Dalziel y el sargento Peter Pascoe están a cargo de la investigación. Sus métodos son totalmente opuestos. Dalziel actúa de forma intuitiva, y es grosero hasta el punto de llegar a ser ofensivo. Mientras que Pascoe tiene un enfoque racional y sus modales son mucho más educados.

Hill los describe de la siguiente manera, cuando nos encontramos con ellos por primera vez:

“El superintendente Andrew Dalziel era un hombre grande. Cuando se quitaba la chaqueta y la dejaba caer sobre el respaldo de una silla parecía la tienda de campaña de un beduino. Tenía la cabeza grande, ahora canosa, los ojos grandes, miopes, pero no perdían nada de su penetrante fuerza detrás de unas gafas de marco sólido, y se sonaba su gran nariz en un pañuelo de color caqui de 14 centímetros cuadrados. Én su tiempo había sido un feroz delantero de rugby, en una época anterior a cuando la destreza y la velocidad se situaron en lo más lato de la lista de cualidades de una melé que la pura indestructibilidad. El mismo orden de prioridades que le ha llevado hasta su actual posición.

Era un hombre al que no era difícil hacerle burla. Pero era un deporte peligroso. Y quizá, por ello demasiado tentador para un sargento que era veinte años más joven, estaba licenciado en ciencias sociales y leía libros de criminología.

Dalziel se hundió en su silla y se rascó enérgicamente entre las piernas. No sin prestar atención – nada de lo que hacía era amaneramiento – pero con sensualidad consciente. Como cuando se rasca a un perro para mantenerlo contento, dijo una vez un agente de policía dentro del alcance del muy agudo oído de Dalziel. Le había gustado el símil y por consiguiente lo pasó por alto.”

Publicada hace más de cuarenta años, La chica del club tiene todo el sabor de una novela policíaca clásica y refleja con exactitud la época en que fue escrita. Tiene un sentido preciso del tiempo y del lugar en el que se desarrolla la acción. Aunque sólo sea por esta razón, vale la pena leerla. Pero es mucho más que eso. Es la primera entrega de una serie protagonizada por dos personajes memorables que han llenado más de treinta años en la historia de la novela policíaca. Reginald Hill fue, además, un magnífico escritor y su escritura es siempre un placer. Al ser la primera, no hay que esperar que sea la mejor de la serie, pero he disfrutado con su lectura. Tengo la intención de leer toda  la serie por orden cronológico, sin plazo de tiempo definido, y me gustaría sugerir una visita a los enlaces que he incluido para una mejor apreciación de la importancia de Reginald Hill.

Mi valoración: B (Me ha gustado mucho).

Reginald Hill era natural de Cumbria y vivió en Yorkshire, el escenario de sus más de 20 novelas protagonizadas por el superintendente Andy Dalziel (pronunciado Dee-ell) y el sargento Peter Pascoe, más adelante inspector. Comenzó su carrera como escritor en 1970 con la publicación de Una mujer sociable el primero de la serie protagonizada por Dalziel y Pascoe. Trabajó como profesor durante muchos años y, diez años después de la publicación de su primera novela, en 1980, se retiró para convertirse en un escritor a tiempo completo. También escribió más de 30 novelas, entre ellas las cinco protagonzadas por Joe Sixsmith, y algunos relatos cortos y cuentos de fantasmas. Las novelas de Dalziel y Pascoe se convirtieron en una serie de la BBC que tuvo mucho éxito, con Warren Clarke y Colin Buchanan como protagonistas. Reginald Hill ganó el CWA Golden Dagger Award en 1990 (por Bones and Silence), el CWA Cartier Diamond Dagger en reconocimiento a toda su carrera en 1995, y el Mystery Thriller Book Club People’s Choice en el 2004 (por Good Morning, Midnight). Falleció el 12 de enero de 2012, a los 75 años de edad, como consecuencia de un tumor cerebral.

11 thoughts on “Review: A Clubbable Woman, by Reginald Hill

  1. Hill is my all-time favourite crime writer, beating even Rankin for the top spot. He’s the one I re-read whenever I want something that I know I’ll enjoy just as much as the first time I read it. I look forward to reading your reviews as you go through them in order. 🙂

  2. it’s a long time since I read this one – thanks for the reminder! One of these days I’ll start re-reading the whole series again I think….unsurprisingly they changed a lot over the course of all those books and all those years.

  3. Pingback: Classic crime in the blogosphere: December 2013 | Past Offences

  4. Pingback: Review: On Beulah Height by Reginald Hill | The Game's Afoot

  5. Pingback: Review: An Advancement of Learning, by Reginald Hill | The Game's Afoot

  6. Pingback: Review: A Killing Kindness by Reginald Hill | The Game's Afoot

  7. Pingback: Review: A Cure for All Diseases by Reginald Hill | The Game's Afoot

  8. Pingback: Review: Ruling Passion (1973) by Reginald Hill – A Crime is Afoot

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s